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Edema Shoes - A Guide

Stephen O'Hare, President of Pedors Shoes

By Stephen O'Hare, President and Co-Founder, Pedors Shoes

For over 25 years Pedors Shoes has designed and manufactured shoes for problem feet. Our goal is to get our customers back on their feet again with affordable, quality footwear that addresses their specific needs. We’re here to help. Your footwear problems are our challenges.

Your Guide To Edema Shoes. Discover What Is Right For Your Feet

Finding appropriate edema shoes requires an evaluation as to how swollen your feet are. Although there may be different medical conditions that cause edema in feet, and various degrees of severity, the commonality is that the feet swell bigger than normal and require shoes with more room than a normal shoe. There are three key measurements -  the girth, the width and of course the length of your feet. This guide will tell you how to do that and review other features to consider before choosing the perfect shoes for your edamatous feet.

What Is The Difference Between Edema And Swelling?

Edema and swelling are related terms and are often substituted for each other. The key distinction is that not all swelling is due to edema but all cases of edema involve swelling. 

Edema is a medical term used to describe the abnormal accumulation of fluid in the spaces between cells or in tissues generally referred to as the interstitial spaces of the body. Swelling describes an enlargement of a body part caused by various factors not limited to edema. 

Edema can result from the capillaries allowing fluid to leak into tissues, impaired lymphatic drainage or excessive fluid retention. Swelling can result from inflammation, injury, infection or other health issues. 

Edema can affect the whole body or a specific area. Swelling can be a visible sign of an underlying problem but may not be due to fluid accumulation. Inflammation can cause swelling without a lot of fluid build up for example.

Why Shopping For Edema Shoes At Your Local Shoe Store Can Be Frustrating

Most shoe stores focus on selling shoes for “normal” feet that are not available in the wider widths for people with swollen feet. Their business model is to carry the shoe lines that “turn” the most quickly to maximize their profit. The demand for carrying shoes in really wide widths that are needed to fit people with edematous feet is not there, and they can’t afford to carry the inventory. When a customer with edema in their feet comes into their store they typically recommend that the customer visit an orthopedic shoe store in order to be sized so as to make a “special order” in your exact size. The shoes are then sent to the orthopedic shoe store usually from the manufacturer’s warehouse  and the store calls you in to be fitted when they are delivered.

Girth Is The Key To Fitting Shoes To Feet With Edema

When it comes to feet with edema you need volume inside the shoe to accommodate the girth of the swollen foot. The way to get the additional volume into a shoe is to go wider. To fit various stages of swelling from mild edema to lymphedema, multiple widths are needed to ensure a good fit. For example, here at Pedors shoes we offer 6 widths to ensure we can accommodate all degrees of edema in the foot. Pedors offer a sizing guide that tells you how to measure the amount of edema in your feet for girth, width and length. 

TOP 5 Design Features To Consider When Looking For Edema Shoes

It’s often the case that along with edema the range of motion is compromised in other parts of the body as well as the feet. So not only do the shoes you need have to accommodate your edematous feet but you need to be able to get them on fairly easy and most importantly they need to be comfortable. These are some of the key design features to consider.

  1. Materials: Edema in the feet can fluctuate over the course of the day, so the materials in the main body of the shoe or the “vamp” need to be able to stretch and ideally offer some compression to help keep the edema down and act therapeutically.

  2. Do the shoes open up? If the foot has edema, often the articulation of the ankle is compromised and it can be difficult to manoever your foot easily into the shoe. A shoe for edema needs to open up so the foot can be easily placed on the footbed.

  3. Do the shoes have a easily adjustable closures? Being able to adjust the closure easily and quickly ensures that the shoe remains comfortable over the course of the day. Velcro closures are easier to adjust, especially for people for whom bending over is a challenge or may have difficulty tying laces.

  4. Do the shoes have generous heel cups for Edematous Ankles? Chances are that if the foot has edema, the ankle is swollen as well. If you are looking for a shoe and you have swollen ankles then the heel cup has to have enough room so that it doesn’t rub or pinch the ankle. Ideally the collar of the ankle shoe be padded as well.  If the ankle is severely swollen then you may want to consider a slide or a slipper with an open heel cup.

  5. Comfort is key: If a shoe has all the design features considered above but is not comfortable then it’s not going to be worn. The shoe needs to offer cushioning and support. The insole that comes with the shoe should offer some extra cushioning but should also be removable in case a moldable insert is needed to help alleviate pressure points on the plantar surface of the foot that may cause callusing.

FAQs About Edema Shoes

Q1. Who are the medical professionals I can go and see for Edema?

Choosing a specialist will depend upon the suspected cause of the edema and may involve collaboration of healthcare professionals to determine the underlying condition in order to manage the edema itself through methods like diuretics, compression therapy and lifestyle modifications. The first step is to speak to your primary care physician for their input. They may recommend one of the following specialists:

• Cardiologist: If your edema is related to a heart condition like congestive heart failure then the underlying heart problem will need to be managed and treated.

Some helpful links:  The American College of Cardiology The American Heart Association

• Nephrologist: If your edema is associated with kidney diseases or disorders, a nephrologist is a specialist to diagnose and treat your condition.

Some helpful links: The American Society of Nephrology American Nephrology Nurses Association

• Vascular Specialist: If your edema is related to vascular issues or blood flow problems then you will want to consult with a vascular surgeon or interventional radiologists.

Some helpful links: Society for Vascular Surgeons Society for Interventional Radiology

• Rheumatologist: If your edema is linked to autoimmune or inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, a rheumatologist can provide specialized care.

Some helpful links: American College of Rheumatology Rheumatology Research Foundation

• Endocrinologist: Edema can be a symptom of endocrine disorders like hypothyroidism where hormonal and endocrine-related conditions are treated.

Some helpful links: Endocrine Society American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists

• Lymphedema Therapist: Lymphedema is a specific type of edema that results from the lymphatic system being compromised. A lymphedema therapist can provide specialized treatment often iinvolving manual lymphatic drainag and compression therapy.

Some helpful links: National Lyphedema Network Lymphatic Education and Resaearch Network.

• Allergist/Immunologist: If the edema is associated with an allergic reaction or angioedema then an allergist or immunologist may be consulted.

Some helpful links: American Associaciation of Immunologists American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

• Podiatrist or Orthopedic Surgeon:Sometimes consulted  if the edema is localized in the extremities and related to joint issues or orthopedic conditions.

Some helpful links: American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons American Podiatric Medical Association

Q2. How do I find an edema specialist near me?

The National Institutes of Health is a comprehensive resource for all medical conditions and the “go to” website to help you find a specialist near you. National Institutes of Health.

Q3. What brands are good for shoes for edema?

Q4. Where can you buy shoes for edema online?

Pedors Shoes 

Shoppers Service


Q5. How can I find a foot healthcare professional near me? is a directory of healthcare professionals that specialize in providing foot care below the knee. Enter in your zip code to find someone local to you. Be sure to call ahead for an appointment.

Conclusion On Edema Shoes

If You Have Edema, shop for shoes available in multiple widths. For the purpose of this guide on Edema Shoes the key take-away is that you want to look for companies that offer suitable accommodative shoes in multiple widths and full and half sizes. 

Supporting Pages

Pedors Womens Edema Shoes Buyers Guide

Pedors Mens Edema Shoes Buyers Guide

Womens Product Section For Shoes For Edema

Mens Product Section For Shoes For Edema

Questions For Pedors?

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